My son attends a Catholic primary school and is receiving his First Holy Communion this year. The preparation started in school in recent weeks.
Myself, I’m not religious. I grew up in a Catholic house, but now I would consider myself an atheist.
Bar the odd funeral or wedding, I don’t attend mass anymore, so I’m fairly out of touch with the goings on of mass these days. I don’t know any of the responses or anything now. I gather they’ve changed them.
Genuinely, I’m happy for him to get the sacrament
My husband is much the same, he doesn’t go to mass anymore, but he does still believe in God in some capacity.
With our son getting his holy communion, we had to go to meetings in the school and we also have to bring him to mass.
Genuinely, I’m happy for him to get the sacrament. He’s really excited for the day, like all the rest of his friends, but I feel like a little bit of a fraud with regard to the whole thing.
I’m attending the parents’ meetings about the sacrament, which quite frankly I’m totally lost in. I asked a question to the priest the other night and everyone looked at me like I had 10 heads. I’m also going to mass, something I never do.
I wonder would it be more beneficial for me to take a step back, but then, I don’t want to put my son off or make him feel like I’m not supporting him
Am I total hypocrite? My husband doesn’t have the same feelings that I do and is happy just to amble along. I wonder would it be more beneficial for me to take a step back, but then, I don’t want to put my son off or make him feel like I’m not supporting him.
What do you think I should do, Miriam? Continue to support my child in something I don’t believe in or bow out?
I really don’t want my son to feel different, but the whole thing just doesn’t sit well with me.
Dear Unholy Mother,
Thank you very much for getting in touch. I am sure very many parents are at a similar crossroads as yourself when it comes to their children and religion.
Many people experience this conflict – not wanting their children to miss out in school, but also the sacraments essentially not being in line with their beliefs.
Getting his holy communion is something he wants to do and you and your husband are helping him
Firstly, I think it is important to say well done on supporting your son. I think that is the most important thing in all this. Getting his holy communion is something he wants to do and you and your husband are helping him.
I do think people will have many different takes on this, but personally I feel if you see this as something you are doing to support your son, then go ahead with it. While you many not believe in this, you have nothing to feel guilty about in going on this journey with your son.
However, if you feel like this is something you cannot bring yourself to do, can you let your husband take the lead on this one? I don’t think there is any shame in that either.
I know these are difficult waters to chart, but just do your best and that will be enough
Also, it may be helpful for you and your husband to sit down with your son and explain that Mammy and Daddy are not very religious, you don’t usually attend mass, but he can do whatever he likes, you are happy for him to do that and will support him. Keep it simple and light.
I know these are difficult waters to chart, but just do your best and that will be enough.
Wishing you all the best,